ViaBTC to Auction ‘Epic Sat” after Isolating 40.75 BTC in Halving Block Rewards

The pool has distributed 40.75 BTC to miners for mining the halving block, a sign that it will not redistribute further profits from the auction

UPDATE: April 23 3:35 UTC – ViaBTC announced in its Telegram channel that it is auctioning the “epic sat” from bitcoin’s fourth halving block with a starting bid of 1 bitcoin.

ViaBTC, the third-largest bitcoin mining pool by hashrate, has isolated the 40.75 BTC it received from mining the fourth halving block in a move to auction the “epic sat.”

ViaBTC mined the bitcoin block 840,000 at 00:09 UTC on April 20, marking the start of a new epoch where each block’s subsidy is halved from 6.25 BTC to 3.125 BTC.

However, in addition to the block subsidy, ViaBTC received 37.6 BTC as transaction fees attributable to spiking on-chain activities related to the Rune protocol. The halving block’s rewards hence totaled 40.75 BTC, worth $2.7 million at bitcoin’s current price. That made it the second most-valued block in bitcoin’s history, next to a block in November with an abnormal fee of 85.21 BTC.

Typically, mining pools consolidate coinbase rewards regularly after mining new bitcoin blocks before distributing them to miner customers based on their hashrate contribution.

However, on Sunday, ViaBTC sent an exact amount of the coinbase rewards (40.75061499 BTC) it received from the halving block to a fresh and isolated address. There has been no other transaction to or from the new address as of publishing.

On ViaBTC’s official Telegram channel, several users started asking on Sunday why they could not see the records on their dashboard of bitcoin payouts from the halving block.

A ViaBTC customer representative confirmed on Monday that such earnings “are still being processed and will be completed as soon as possible” but did not explain why the pool isolated those payouts.

On Tuesday, ViaBTC announced that it distributed the halving block rewards to miners in a sign that it might not further redistribute the profits from the auction of the epic sat to miners.

Foundry USA, the largest bitcoin mining pool by hashrate, told customers in an email before the halving that if it mined the halving block, it would isolate the rewards and find ways – such as through the Ordinal protocol – to monetize on the scarcity of what is called “epic sats.” Foundry said it would redistribute 100% of the profits from monetizing the halving block sats.